Reinventing the Wheel
Wildcat’s R&D team is relentless in their quest to design and build the best... with the release of the new fangled Turbo wheel lets take a look back at how the MiniBMX wheel has evolved over the last eight years, and why the new design is truly next level.
As we said in our last post, the very first MiniBMX in production didn’t have access to specialised parts or design and so relied upon donor parts from carts and kids bikes. These components just weren’t fit for purpose and often failed as a result.
Wheel design 1 - Circa 2011 / 12
The first assemblies used adapted cart or dolly wheels which, when kept in-line under vertical loading are reasonably strong. However this is not a real world application in MiniBMX, they simply were not designed to withstand the heavy lateral force placed upon them during serious riding. When landing spins, whips or rotating out of tricks they would often fail by collapsing sideways on the axle or buckling.
Some brands still rely on this glorified cart wheel design today - 4 x hubnuts and a flower pattern hub on one side only which is fixed to the axle / hub assembly by a single, narrow weld point. The two split hub halfs attach directly to this and offer very little insurance against lateral force failure. To put power to the ground the hub is paired to a driver/freewheel from a kid’s bike, usually a 12 or 16t ratio. This low gearing makes it difficult to generate enough speed for tricks. Wildcat’s specialised 9t pro-driver when paired with 25t, 28t or 30t chainwheels offer the optimum pedal speed range for MiniBMX size.
Wildcat recognised very early on that to follow their ethos of a ‘true BMX bloodline’ product range, they needed to ditch this design and take an entirely new approach to elevate the MiniBMX genre above a mere kids toy specification.
Wheel design 2. The High-tensile steel hub.
After trial, error and a few variations Wildcat’s R&D team developed a new wheel design in 2016, the hi-tensile heat treated steel hub seen on the majority of Wildcat MiniBMXs today. This is a MiniBMX specific design, and does a great job combating the lateral force exerted on the hub - even when used by larger humans! This is achieved by permanently fixing one side of the rim to the hub assembly using a reinforced, hidden weld / wedge design. Externally this is visible at the centre of the hub, seen as a bevel angling from the hub to the rim. The removable side of the hub also has the same geometry, ensuring a solid brace against lateral force from both sides.
Once assembled the hubs are then heat treated to further strengthen. This process can sometimes warp the rim out of true but it is essential to ensure maximum hub strength above all else. The resulting wobble has been the bain of a few manufacturers using a heat treatment process and can become pronounced, so Wildcat also developed a method to straighten and balance post heat treatment. As a result this has been the most successful and strongest wheel design up until now. The finished hub is held together firmly with 5 x eye bolts, also making it reasonably easy to split the rim and slide off the removeable side, in case a tyre change or puncture repair is required.
The hi-ten pro wheel package offers proven performance and strength you can trust at an affordable price point.
Wheel design 3. Innovation and evolution.
Finally... enter the new benchmark and forefront of MiniBMX wheel design. Wildcat truly has re-invented the wheel, seriously changing the MiniBMX game with the new patented Turbo design. The Turbo hub core is 100% aluminium forged and CNC tech (meaning each hub is individually machined to shape, not cast moulded or pressed from sheet metal) making them the strongest, lightest and truest wheel on the market. The unique design spreads force more evenly across the axle instead of focusing load on one point. As a result it has proven to withstand up to 5 times the lateral force of even the Hi-tensile, heat treated wheel design.
This new hub design rolls on an incredibly tough and light nylon material rim, all held tight by an integrated lock system which as a bonus, makes changing tyres a breeze.
The rear hub is especially engineered for full blown freestyle assault; it utilises not two, but three precision bearings to spread load across the axle. These serve as a foundation for the two forged / CNCed aluminium hub parts, which via the hidden lock system are held rock solid against any lateral force exerted through the hub even under extreme riding conditions.
Not only are they pound for pound the strongest MiniBMX wheel available worldwide, they look incredible and are available in a range of anodized colours and rim combinations.
We've got a bunch of new models about to drop with the Turbo wheel from Original 2B spec upwards... we'll also be giving one away very soon so stay tuned!